After four days of suspense, the nation celebrated in jubilation at the election of a new president, Joe Biden. Four states hung in the balance and as the former vice president's vote totals increased, the nation waited with baited breath. One of those states, Georgia, began to turn the tide Friday morning (Nov. 6), when votes for Biden overtook Donald Trump, placing him at the doorstep of the presidency.
Georgia, which was a solid red state in previous elections, was on the cusp of turning blue and the roots of that historic transformation lies with former gubernatorial candidate and voting rights advocate Stacey Abrams.
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In 2018, Abrams, who had served as a member of the state House of Representatives, mounted a bid for governor, but lost it in a very narrow vote to then-Secretary of State Brian Kemp by 55,000 votes. Many felt that the race was stolen from her because of a dubious balloting process and allegations of voter suppression. She suspended her campaign without conceding, calling what happened an “erosion of our democracy.”
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Since then, however, she became an activist for ensuring fair counting of votes in her state. She founded Fair Fight Action the same year to address voter suppression with an eye on the 2020 political season.
As a result, her activism has left voters feeling empowered enough to cast their ballots and apparently cause a possible sea change in Georgia. A record 7.6 million people were on the voter rolls in the state and Fair Fight managed to register nearly 500,000 new voters, mostly millennials and people of color with a resounding fundraising sweep of more than $32 million, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported. Many of those voters have brought the state to the brink of being a blue state in the presidential election, and also spurring two U.S. Senate runoff elections.
Democrat Raphael Warnock and Republican incumbent Kelly Loeffler will face each other in a Jan. 5 runoff election since neither got more than 50 percent of the vote. Also, Democrat Jon Ossoff and Republican David Perdue were very close on Thursday (Nov. 5) to winding up in a runoff election of their own in that campaign.
“We’ve come close time and time again,” Abrams said during a rally in Atlanta on Tuesday. “Every time is a building block, and we’re building toward a blue wall in Georgia.”
And her influence doesn’t stop just within the state. Many on social media are calling for Abrams to be the head of the Democratic National Committee if Biden winds up winning the election.
In a September interview, she remarked to MTV News what motivated her and why she decided not to wallow in the loss after being defeated by Kemp.
“In the wake of the 2018 election,” said Abrams who was under brief consideration for Biden’s running mate. “I had some time on my hands and, of course, as folks know, I really wanted to focus America's attention on voter suppression, not just what happened in my election and to the voters in my state, but what was happening around the country.”